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6. Narration

Let's talk about the all-important key to making a Charlotte Mason education "stick." Let's talk about narration.

Have you ever assumed you knew a thing, and then when you tried to explain it, you realized you didn't know it as well as you thought you did? Hold on to that thought, because it relates to narration.

Narration means you read your child a book -- maybe a chapter of history, or a Scripture passage, or a story -- and your child tells it back to you. He uses some of his own words and some he picked up from the reading. He might forget that the king wore a royal cloak, but he includes the part about the jeweled sword. Or maybe he includes both, but doesn't mention the location of the battlefield. Every child will pick up on something different (because every child is an individual person, remember?)

You might not have seen it, but some real learning just happened. Your child had to remember the story. He had to put the details in order -- what happened first? Which parts were important and need to be mentioned? If you're really, really quiet, you might hear it -- the sound of the gears turning as his mind is sorting through that information, sifting, organizing, making choices about what to keep and what to discard, and finding the words to put it all back together again. That's the sound of real learning happening!

What about our earlier example, when you had trouble putting your vague notion into words? That's what happens to information we take in, but never really verbalize -- it never gets truly assimilated.

This week, try your hand at narrating yourself. It isn't as easy as it sounds! But when you've done it, that knowledge is yours "for keeps."

"We know that if a person, whether a child or adult, can tell something, they really know it. But if he can't put it into words, then he doesn't really know it." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 6 pg 172]

[Today's patio chat comes from Principle 14]

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